We all have our preferences but is there really a healthy choice between coffee and tea? I think there is not. Because coffee is strongly roasted it maintains a steady acidity that can harm the stomach and intestines in the long run.
While some Oolong teas from China are also roasted, the process of roasting is very different. Coffee is roasted in huge machines at very high temperatures. I myself was born in a coffee shop my parents were running at the time and I will never forget that typical rather aggressive smell of coffee roasting. My parents were addicted to strong black coffee but after my father got a cancer prognosis from his doctor, my mother later changed from coffee to tea—I was ten at that time and fully joined in, and became a tea lover for life!
I drink exclusively teas from China, Taiwan and Japan, all available here in Cambodia. I would like to present here some I bought recently, except the White Tea from China that I bought for the first time. But there is a caveat, this tea was only 8$ for 75g in Bayon Supermarket (that sells a lot of Chinese teas, as the owner family are Chinese-Cambodian).
I present it here first and when you look at the tea leaves, you see immediately that it is a low quality tea. However it is not bad and a friend of mine just found out that it contains low cafeine:
So let me make this post comprehensive enough, covering various alternatives for the tea lover. Let me start with my own preferences. I came to love two Oolong teas from China. I just find their taste so compelling while they are not as expensive as others I have bought and like much less.
One is called a Fresh Oolong and must be kept in the fridge. You see it here on the photo gallery in a red-yellow vacuum packing, and its price for 200g is 15$. The other is a slightly fermented and smoked Oolong tea which you see in the green vacuum packing, and its price for 200g is equally 15$. Both are very fragrant and yet fresh teas and not expensive for their quality.
The color of tea in the cup is also characteristic and just a joy to look at.
Now let us stay with Oolong teas for a moment longer. I would like to present here a famous Taiwan Mountain Oolong. However I like it much less than the two others, and it is 35$ for 250g. It is a fine tea and my tea shop expert cannot understand my preference for the cheaper Chinese Oolongs but it is simply so and not a matter of fancy.
Finally, what I learnt over time is that Chinese Hóng Chá (Black Tea) contains the lowest amount of cafeine which is why it can well be drunk for dinner with no side effects for sleeping well.
A very special Chinese tea I would like to discuss now is Pu-Erh tea. It is special because of its health benefits. In fact, back in 1998 in Jakarta, Indonesia, the local hotel staff recommended me to get Pu-Erh tea to heal my ongoing diarrhea. (They call it ‘Pu Li’ in Indonesia). You can browse Google to find its many other health benefits for it is anti-oxidant and anti-fungus, anti-bacterial and helps to slim down as well.
Pu-Ehr is made as a tea cake and you need to break it apart so that you can measure a bit of it for your tea pot, how much is up to you. You can brew it very lightly so that it looks exactly like Black Tea or you can make it look like black ink and have a very ‘earthy’ and ‘foresty’ taste. It is delicious and not cheap. I paid for mine 35$ which is a medium quality, for one cake. Prices start at 12$ and can go into several hundred dollars for one. Pu-Ehr also contains relatively little cafeine so you can drink at for late afternoon tea time and even with your dinner.
Here is one of many videos on Pu-Ehr tea I have watched and I find this one particularly well explained, namely regarding the process of making the tea and how the fermentation process has been accelerated by the Chinese from about 25 years to only 2 months.
Last not least, a Japanese tea I really love to drink with Japanese food, especially Miso Soup. It is a light green tea and slightly bitter if you let it on the leaves for two long. The leaves are a tiny grain-like substance, almost powdery, but do not confuse this tea with the Japanese Macha, which is a green-powder tea that needs a very special kind of preparation and is commonly used in the Japanese tea ceremony.